exercise N 3.3 – character through gait, posture, carriage
This guy’s got a keg-fridge torso and the root-like legs to lug it. A big spray of fat clings to his abdominals but his arms, sloping forward in their sockets like a primate cousin might, are strong and scarred, calloused past the wrist from a lifetime of skilled labour.
When he steps out of his car he’s long and languid with it, casually bending like a reed in a lava lamp. He plants both feet squarely on the ground, confident of their connection with the earth, before he swings his bowling-ball-sized centre of gravity up through the door and into the world. He stands, his pelvis subtly thrusted, hands at his lapels, surveying the scene. In profile he is indistinguishable from a sliced side of beef hung white and motionless in a butcher’s blue back room.
He sees his grandmother rounding the corner. She’s pushing her walker, full of groceries, moving with the slow grace of a caterpillar. He hurries over to greet her, chest proudly out as his great gorilla arms pump. Despite their knotty size, his feet leap nimbly from the pavement and land with a pleasant rubber -whump- in easy rhythm.
She wraps him in a warm hug, his form enclosing hers, gently, as though he held a bird’s nest in his palm. He bent double to take her in. He bent a little at the knees to save his back.
Taking the cart over, he adopts her pace. They take the neighbourhood a half-metre at a time, enjoying the breeze. His back’s hunched some to control the tiny cart, his blunted fingers all but obscuring the faded pink foam handle he’d put on the cart when he’d presented it to her a few birthdays back. His neck swivels whenever she points to a bird or a child or an interesting bit of architecture.
He puts away her groceries and reposes on the couch an hour before getting up and saying, “Love you granny. See you tomorrow.”